48% of Americans Prefer to Live for Today Than Plan for Tomorrow

September 5, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Asia-Pacific | Boomers & Older | Europe & Middle East | Global & Regional | Household Income | Men | Women | Youth & Gen X

ipsos-us-attitudes-to-planning-vs-living-sept2012.png48% of Americans would rather “live for today” than “plan for tomorrow,” according to [pdf] September 2012 survey results from Ipsos. Americans skew above-average in this preference, 4% points higher than the 44% average among respondents from 25 markets worldwide. Within the US, women show a stronger preference for living for today than men (49% vs. 46%). Americans aged up to 49 years old are virtually split in their choice, but those aged 50 to 64 show a clear preference for planning for tomorrow rather than living for today (57% vs. 43%).

US Planners Skew Higher In Income, Education, Responsibility

The percentage of Americans who favor planning for tomorrow rises along with income. While 42% of Americans in low-income households prefer planning for tomorrow, 51% in medium-income households report the same, as do 55% in high-income households. It is somewhat unsurprising that lower-income households are more focused on daily life than on the future.

Education level also appears to play a part in these preferences. 47% of Americans with low educational attainment prefer to plan for tomorrow, compared to 54% of those with a medium level of educational attainment, and 60% with higher education. Respondents who are chief income earners also show a higher preference for planning than those who are not (59% vs. 46%), as do the employed compared to the unemployed (55% vs. 48%), business owners compared to non-business owners (59% vs. 51%), and senior executive decision makers compared to those who are not (also 59% vs. 51%).

Married Americans, at 56%, display a higher preference for planning than the national average, of 52%. This may be related to a higher likelihood of married respondents having children: according to a Burson-Marsteller report from July 2012, 76% of American parents value “preparing my child for success in the future” over “making sure my child is happy now” at 22% (with 2% undecided).

Indonesians The Most Avid Planners

According to the Ipsos report, regionally, the Middle East and Africa shows the highest preference for planning for tomorrow (67%), and Latin America the lowest (40%). The Asia-Pacific region is second highest, at 59%, and Europe third, at 57%.

Indonesians (85%) display the strongest preference for planning, with Hungarians second (76%) and Poles third (72%). The most devout planners are Indonesian senior executive decision makers, with a 92% preference.

Seemingly the least inclined to plan for tomorrow are Mexicans and Spanish, each at 37%.

Other Findings:

  • Middle-income Poles (83%) are far more prone to planning than their lower- and higher-income counterparts (70% and 64%).
  • Just 14% of higher-income Mexicans prefer planning for tomorrow, compared to their lower- and middle-income counterparts (36% and 47%).

About the Data: The Ipsos data is based on a survey of 12,500 consumers in 25 countries.


Explore More Articles.

Marketing Charts Logo

Stay on the cutting edge of marketing.

Sign up for our free newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This